|
|
|
|
|
|
characters learning
|
|
|
recipes
kungfu
|
|
|
originals
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
horoscope friends
|
|
|
Our Shop
 
Folk Art & Craft
Chinese Knots

Chinese knots, also known as Traditional Chinese decorative knots, are typical local arts of China. It is a decorative handicraft arts that began as a form of Chinese folk art in the Tang and Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD) in China. It was later popularized in the Ming and Qing Dynasty (1368-1911 AD).

Archaeological studies indicate that the art of tying knots dates back to prehistoric times. Recent discoveries include 100,000-year old bone needles used for sewing and bodkins, which were used to untie knots. However, due to the delicate nature of the medium, few examples of prehistoric Chinese knotting exist today. Some of the earliest evidence of knotting have been preserved on bronze vessels of the Warring States period (481-221 BCE), Buddhist carvings of the Northern Dynasties period (317-581) and on silk paintings during the Western Han period (206 BCE-CE6).

Further references to knotting have also been found in literature, poetry and the private letters of some of the most infamous rulers of China. In the 1700s, one book that talked extensively about the art was Dream of the Red Chamber. The phenomenon of knot tying continued to steadily evolve over the course of thousands of years with the development of more sophisticated techniques and increasingly intricate woven patterns. During the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) knotting finally broke from its pure folklore status, becoming an acceptable art form in Chinese society and reached the pinnacle of its success.

In Chinese, "knot" means reunion, friendliness, peace, warmth, marriage, love, etc. Chinese knots are often used to express good wishes, including happiness, prosperity, love and the absence of evil.

The Chinese knot is based on over a dozen basic knots named according to their distinctive shapes, usages, or origins. The Two-Coins Knot, for example, is shaped like two overlapping coins once used in ancient China. The Button Knot functions as a button, and the Reversed Swastika Knot was derived from the Buddhist symbol commonly seen on the streamers hanging down from the waistband of the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy. Certain knots such as the "mystic knot" pattern with its seemingly endless and repetitive pattern evokes one of the fundamental truths of Buddhism and the cyclical nature of all existence. In essence, knotwork serves to create an atmosphere of well-being, good luck and health, longevity and harmony. As gifts, they are emotional, sentimental, and are often keepsakes between lovers and friends.

The knots are pulled tightly together and are sturdy enough to be used for binding or wrapping, making them very practical. Furthermore, the complicated structure of the Chinese knot allows all kinds of variations and enhances its decorative value. Almost all basic Chinese knots are symmetrical, which has set certain technical limitations on the design and creation of new patterns and themes. Symmetry is consistent with time-honored ornamental and aesthetic standards in China. Visually, the symmetrical designs are more easily accepted and appreciated by Chinese people.

Crafting the Chinese knot is a three-step process which involves tying knots, tightening them and adding the finishing touches. Knot-tying methods are fixed, but the tightening can determine the degree of tension in a knot, the length of loops (ears) and the smoothness and orderliness of the lines. Thus, how well a Chinese knot has been tightened can demonstrate the skill and artistic merit of a knot artist. Finishing a knot means inlaying pearls or other precious stones, starching the knot into certain patterns, or adding any other final touches.

Since ancient times, the Chinese knot has adorned both the fixtures of palace halls and the daily implements of countryside households. The Chinese Macrame has also appeared in paintings, sculptures and other pieces of folk art. For instance, the Chinese Macrame was used to decorate chairs used by the emperor and empress, corners of sedans, edges of parasols, streamers attached to the waistbands of lady's dresses, as well as all manners of seals, mirrors, pouches, sachets, eyeglass cases, fans and Buddhist rosaries.

The Chinese knot, with its classic elegance and ever-changing variations, is both practical and ornamental, fully reflecting the grace and depth of Chinese culture.